The distance of Belmont Stakes 2011should not pose a problem for Brilliant Speed but the conventional dirt footing is a question he must still answer.
Brilliant Speed seems better on dirt and synthetic - photo by Eclipse Sportswire
Brilliant Speed, trained by Tom Albertrani and owned by Live Oak Plantation, was beaten more than forty-lengths in a pair of dirt sprints to kick off his career in New York last summer. He showed signs of life in a pair of Belmont turf route show finishes before graduating on the Tampa Bay weeds in December.
That turf maiden win seemed to do wonders for his confidence and he followed that up with a pair of near misses in the grass stakes ranks. He burst onto the Derby scene with a surprising late running tally in the Blue Grass Stakes and ended up 7th of 19 on the first Saturday in May.
Brilliant Speed, a 3-year-old son of Dynaformer, out of Gone West mare Speed Succeeds, will once again have the services of leading Southern California rider Joel Rosario, and although the mile and a half Belmont Stakes distance should be well within his reach, he must still prove that he can run a big race on dirt.
2011 Kentucky Derby hopeful To Honor And Serve, winner of the 2010 Nashua and Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct, tops a field of eight in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb 26. The nine furlong event is the 10th race on Saturday’s card.
The exciting 3-year-old son of Bernardini, out of Deputy Minister dam Pilfer, finished second in his sprint debut at Saratoga last summer before reeling off three straight wins to end his juvenile campaign. He defeated recent Risen Star Stakes winner Mucho Macho Man in the Nashua and Remsen.
Bill Mott trains To Honor And Serve for Live Oak Plantation. John Velazquez, who was aboard for the Remsen, will be back in the saddle on Saturday.
To Honor And Serve has worked six times at Payson Park in preparation for his 2011 bow, including a bullet four furlong move on Feb 20.
His competition includes graded stakes winners Soldat and Gourmet Dinner.